Randy Boyd, Republican candidate for governor and longtime Knoxville businessman and philanthropist, announced Tuesday that Steve Smith, Middle Tennessee leader and Republican fundraiser, will chair Mr. Boyd’s statewide campaign finance team.
“Not only is Steve Smith one of Tennessee’s most outstanding leaders, but there is no one more experienced and successful in building the kind of financial support we will need to win this campaign,” Mr. Boyd said. “I am deeply grateful to Steve for his trust and leadership in serving as state finance chair for our campaign.”
Active in a variety of civic leadership roles in Middle Tennessee and across the state, Mr.
Smith is chairman of Haury and Smith Contractors, Inc., a 60 year-old building and development company based in Nashville.
In recent years, Mr. Smith has served as State Finance chairman for Senator Lamar Alexander's 2008 and 2014 re-election campaigns, and as National Finance co-chair for Alexander's presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000. He was one of only three Tennesseans to achieve Super Ranger status as a fundraiser during President George W. Bush's 2004 campaign, and he also served as National Finance chairman for former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's leadership committee.
A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Mr. Smith is a member of MTSU’s new board of trustees, and received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to the University in 2014.
Mr. Smith said he and dozens of leaders across the state are already hard at work raising the dollars and putting in place the finance organization Mr. Boyd will need to be successful.
“It is a privilege to be working with Randy Boyd. Randy is not a professional politician, but his success as state commissioner of economic and community development put him in touch with the needs of every county and community in our state,” Mr. Smith said. “Education, jobs, opportunity, prosperity, and safety are the issues that Randy and voters care most about. He knows what to do. He will be an outstanding governor.”
Mr. Boyd, a longtime Republican fundraiser himself, having served as state finance co-chair for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, and as Knox County finance chair for former Congressman Ed Bryant in his U.S. Senate bid, also announced that his first major fundraising event will be held April 24 in his hometown of Knoxville. Several other major fundraising events across the state are being organized and will be announced soon.
Mr. Boyd on Tuesday also named two fundraising professionals to help lead and support his statewide fundraising operation. Alice Krista Tadlock from Memphis and Taylor Ferrell from Nashville will share fundraising responsibilities across the state.
Ms. Tadlock most recently served as the national finance coordinator for Governor Mike Huckabee’s 2016 presidential campaign, where she developed and executed the campaign’s national finance strategy and managed the national finance operation. She previously served as the California Finance director for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, and has worked for a variety of other Republican committees and candidates, including George P. Bush in Texas, the Republican National Committee, Mitt Romney’s Commonwealth PAC, Congresswoman Mimi Walters and Congressman Ken Calvert in California, former Congressman Connie Mack in Florida, former Congresswoman Mary Bono in California, and several U.S. Senators.
Mr. Ferrell, who worked as an aide and consultant for the Tennessee Republican Party, served as deputy state finance director for U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s reelection campaign in 2014, and most recently served as the principal fundraising consultant to a number of elected officials across the state, including State Senators Steve Dickerson from Nashville, Todd Gardenhire from Chattanooga, Ken Yager from Kingston, and State Representative Michael Curcio from Dickson, during their 2016 campaigns.
Earlier, Mr. Boyd announced that Scott Niswonger, respected leader and fundraiser from Greeneville, is serving as Treasurer for his campaign, and former Tennessee Republican Party chairman Chip Saltsman is campaign CEO.
“I am incredibly proud of this team. Our goal is to engage more Tennessean than ever before as grassroots donors and volunteers from all across the state,” Mr. Boyd said. “And I could not be more grateful for the help and support of these outstanding Tennesseans in helping us get that done.”
Mr. Boyd is the founder and chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, headquartered in Knoxville, with over 700 employees worldwide and with offices in seven countries. First started out of the back of Mr, Boyd’s van, the company today produces over 4,600 pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, and SportDOG. It is a privately held corporation with revenues of approximately $400 million. Mr. Boyd is also owner of Boyd Sports LLC, owner of the Tennessee Smokies Baseball team, the AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and the Johnson City Cardinals, a rookie league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
He also served in Governor Bill Haslam’s cabinet as the state Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, and earlier, while serving as the Governor’s Special Advisor on Higher Education, was the architect of the state’s Drive to 55 workforce development initiative, and the tnAchieves and Tennessee Promise scholarship programs to help more young people go to technical or community college tuition-free.
Mr. Boyd and his wife Jenny have been married for 32 years and have two children, Harrison and Thomas, a daughter-in-law Lindsey, and a beloved dog, Oskar. They reside in Knoxville and are members of Erin Presbyterian Church.